Regional

Australia denies permission for coal mine near Great Barrier Reef

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s environment minister on Wednesday declined to grant permission for a new thermal coal project owned by mining magnate Clive Palmer near the Great Barrier Reef. The Central Queensland Coal owned mine...

Netflix lays out plans to crack down on account sharing

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc on Wednesday laid out plans to crack down on password sharing for accounts on its streaming platform, including setting up primary location and paying a couple of dollars for an extra member. The video-streaming giant, which has estimated that 100 million around the world use a shared account, said that members...

Australia acknowledges suspension of probe into MH17 downing

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Australian government on Thursday said it had acknowledged the decision by international prosecutors to suspend their investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Ukraine in 2014. MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile system as it flew over eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur...

Australia to expand rollout of fifth COVID vaccine shot

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will roll out a fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccine later this month to all citizens aged 18 and above who have not contracted coronavirus or been vaccinated in the past six months, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Wednesday. The decision expands eligibility for the booster shot to include about 14...

Fewer than one in 200 companies have credible climate plans – CDP

LONDON (Reuters) – Fewer than one in 200 companies who submit climate change-related data to a leading environmental disclosure platform have credible climate transition plans, the nonprofit platform CDP said on Wednesday in its latest review of corporate submissions. The data underlines the scale of the gap between company pledges to transition to net-zero carbon...

Report: Pacific region uniquely vulnerable to worsening climate risks

The Pacific region is uniquely vulnerable to worsening climate risks, which threaten to cause irreversible economic, social, cultural, and environmental damage. This was stated in the Pacific Security Outlook Report 2022-2023 released by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat this week, highlighting key regional security issues and trends. The report noted climate security issues where some...

8th February

Solomon Islands ousts official critical of close relations with China

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A vocal critic of China and leader of the most populous province in the Solomon Islands has been removed from office after a no-confidence vote by the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Australian state broadcaster ABC reported. Daniel Suidani, premier of the South Pacific nation’s Malaita province, is a longtime critic of the...

Erdogan declares state of emergency for Turkey quake zone

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -President Tayyip Erdogan declared on Tuesday a three-month state of emergency covering Turkey’s 10 southern provinces hit by devastating earthquakes, and called it a disaster zone in a move meant to bolster rescue efforts. The move came as the death toll from Monday’s two major earthquakes, which hit a wide area of Turkey...

Australia, New Zealand talk up their relationships with China

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia and New Zealand talked up their relationships with China at a joint prime ministerial news conference on Tuesday in the latest sign of strengthening ties with their biggest trading partner. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his counterpart Chris Hipkins said they discussed climate change, security, migration and the economy at their...

Solomon Islands ousts official critical of close relations with China – ABC

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A vocal critic of China and leader of the most populous province in the Solomon Islands has been removed from office after a no-confidence vote by the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Australian state broadcaster ABC reported. Daniel Suidani, premier of the South Pacific nation’s Malaita province, is a longtime critic of the...

7th February

Australia’s biggest state unveils plan for cashless poker machines

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The leader of Australia’s most populous state on Monday unveiled a plan to make all poker machines cashless within five years to fight money laundering and problem gambling, setting up a political battle ahead of a state election next month. New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said his government would make every...

5th February

Bishops and Archbishops meet in Fiji; reality of rising sea level on the agenda

A total of 84 Bishops and Archbishops will be attending a six-day Federation of Catholic Bishops of Oceania (FCBCO) General Assembly that begins today with the opening mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Suva. The participants are expected to deliberate on issues of climate change, rising sea level, and the importance of the ocean...

3rd February

Kiribati rejoins forum

A defence and security expert says there is still a lot of work to do to fully mend Pacific regional unity even with Kiribati stating its intention to rejoin the Forum. The Micronesian country’s shock withdrawal in July last year rocked the foundations of Pacific regionalism and raised questions about the power dynamics and politics...

Australia’s radioactive capsule to be moved to storage as investigation starts

SYDNEY (Reuters) – A lost radioactive capsule found after a search along a 1,400 km stretch of the arid Western Australian outback is due to arrive in Perth on Thursday as investigators work on piecing together just how it fell from a truck. The capsule – 6mm in diameter and 8 mm long or about...

Australia to replace monarch on banknote with design honouring Indigenous culture

SYDNEY (Reuters) -Australia will replace the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on its A$5 banknote with a new design to reflect and honour the history of its Indigenous culture, the country’s central bank said on Thursday. The decision follows consultation with the federal government, which supports the change, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in...

New Zealand announces NZ$700,000 in additional flood support as cleanup begins

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s government on Thursday announced NZ$700,000 ($450,000) in additional funding to help rebuild flood-ravaged Auckland and other areas in the upper north island as residents of the country’s second-largest city start cleaning up. Auckland and much of New Zealand’s upper North Island have been hit by record rainfall in the last...

Puna delighted over Kiribati’s return to the Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has welcomed the Kiribati government’s confirmation of its intention to return to the Pacific Islands Forum. The agreement to return to the Pacific Islands Forum family was sealed during a meeting between the President of Kiribati Taneti Maamau and Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka last month. “I am...

Australian Cardinal Pell’s funeral marked by arrival of protesters, mourners

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Protesters gathered and mourners began to arrive in Sydney on Thursday ahead of the funeral service of Australian Cardinal George Pell, a former top Vatican official who was acquitted in 2020 of sexual abuse accusations. Australian police said it had dropped a court bid to block the gathering after protesters agreed to...

2nd February

U.S. FDA removes COVID test requirements for Pfizer, Merck pills

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday removed the need for a positive test for COVID-19 treatments from Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co Inc. Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio pills were given emergency use authorizations in Dec. 2021 for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID who tested positive for the virus, and who...

U.S. opens embassy in Solomon Islands, Blinken says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States has opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands after a 30-year absence as it seeks to boost diplomatic relations in the Pacific as a counter to China. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to open a diplomatic mission in the Pacific island nation during a visit to the region...

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